Summary: A reflection on what went wrong in Solomon’s spiritual life, with a particular focus on explaining how Solomon came to believe that life was meaningless.
Islington Baptist Church
April 2, 2006
Sermon text: Ecclesiastes
Scripture reading: I Kings 3
The danger of drifting spiritually
1. Today I want to talk to you about the danger of drifting spiritually.
2. My inspiration for today’s topic is the book of Ecclesiastes which features a jaded, pessimistic, and cynical King Solomon.
3. 35 times in the book of Ecclesiastes we are told by a jaded and pessimistic King Solomon that life is meaningless. Read Ecclesiastes 1:2.
What a depressing take on life. What a defeatist attitude to have.
Sad to say, but the view that life is meaningless and without ultimate purpose is held by many people.
4. How could Solomon, who was so gifted and blessed by God, come to such a pessimistic view of life?
Solomon’s gift: 1 Kings 3
As the Scriptures tell us, God appeared to Solomon in a dream one night and said “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Rather than ask God for wealth, long life, and the death of his enemies, he asked for discernment and wisdom that he might rightly govern God’s people. God was pleased with Solomon’s request and granted it to him.
With this gift of God in him, Solomon went forth and built Israel into a superpower in its day. The country was rich, at peace, large, respected. Not only did the nation prosper- Solomon did to. Because of God’s gifting, Solomon became famous at home and abroad. People flocked from the world over that they might have an audience with him- that they might learn from him.
Blessings from God that Solomon experienced
-a godly and righteous father
-he had the privilege of building the Temple of God
-he had personally seen a manifestation of the glory of God (at the opening of the Temple)
-the extension of Israel’s borders
5. Solomon drifted away from God.
Solomon, bit by bit drifted away from God. Inch by inch Solomon turned his back on God and His Word. Day after day Solomon’s devotion to God waxed and waned just a little bit more. Month after month passed and Solomon’s heart grew ever colder to God.
This is what happened in Solomon’s life. This is why Solomon, the tone of Ecclesiastes, and some of the counsel he gives in the book of Ecclesiastes is off. For example, Ecclesiastes 3:18-21.
I Kings 11:1-13 tells us how it happened.
“King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter--Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, "You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods." Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done. On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods. The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the LORD’s command. 11 So the LORD said to Solomon, "Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. 12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen."